June 9, 2012

Secret Weapon: Kukicha Tea

Tea is often not recommended for GERD sufferers due to its reputation as a "trigger" food.    In my case, caffeinated teas can aggravate my reflux, but I am determined to find a way to continue to drink tea -- one my great pleasures of life! -- and still manage my issues.  I found by reducing my tea consumption (1-2 cups a day instead of 3-4), incorporating a few herbals and decaffeinated teas, and taking an occasional "tea hiatus," I am able to enjoy all types of tea with no or minimal reflux.  

The type of tea matters, too.  In an earlier post, I mentioned hojicha, a roasted green tea that works well with my gut.  Puehrs and oolongs are also non-triggers for me.   Another tea I have recently re-discovered is kukicha, or "twig tea."  Kukicha and hojicha are variations of bancha, the "last tea" produced by the tea tree before it goes dormant.   This tea is naturally lower in caffeine -- perhaps that is why I tolerate it so well? -- and is the tea of choice of Buddhist monks, and macrobiotic diets, and many  tea drinkers such as this blogger, who notes kukicha's health benefits.

Kukicha is literally twigs of the tea tree taken during pruning.    T Ching's introduction explains the difference between bancha, hojicha, kukicha, and matcha (note: T Ching is a tea blog worth a look, overall).

I recommend Bellocq's Roasted Kukicha with its excellent mild but deep, nutty flavor.   Here is my cup, after brewing:


  1. No GERD here, but green and black teas definitely upset my stomach if I don't have them with food. Kukicha and herbal tisanes are ok, though.

    What about genmaicha? Do you like it, and is it a trigger?


    1. A.,
      I have to admit most greens and blacks upset my stomach as well, if I have them first thing in the morning, or on an empty stomach at other times. I do love genmaicha, but I do find it can be irritating from time to time. Part of the frustration of my GERD is the seeming randomness of triggers -- what worked one day can be different another day. A careful log of food intake, exercise output, bowel activity, mood and symptoms would probably be useful but that's a lot of data to track. I'd be doing nothing else! ;-)

      One green tea that works well for me is a high quality gyokuro, though it's noted to be a "high caffeine" tea. Go figure.